Drilling could resume by San Leon near occupied capital

San Leon Energy's controversial oil programme in occupied Western Sahara might continue with more drilling, according to company.
Published: 22.09 - 2016 21:10Printer version    
The Irish company San Leon Energy and the Moroccan state oil company ONHYM "now intend to apply for a long licence, which may include 3D seismic over the broader structure (including the existing well), and the well may also be re-entered."

The Irish oil company San Leon held its Annual General Meeting on 20 September, where its intention to sign a new licence was mentioned in the 2015 Annual Report. San Leon is operator of two blocks which are located in the north-west and north-east part of the territory or Western Sahara, partially overlapping into Morocco proper.

The two exploration blocks, Tarfaya and Zag, respectively, are highly controversial, as the UN has stated that any further oil exploration in Western Sahara would be in violation of international law if the Saharawis were not consenting and do not benefiting.

Not a single reference to Western Sahara was made in San Leon's annual report. All references to the Zag and Tarfaya blocks give the impression that they are located in Morocco, which they are not. The misrepresentation has been systematic for a number of years to its investors, including probably to those who placed 29 million in the company in 2015, enabling the company to carry out the drilling in Western Sahara.

The company notes in its annual report that further spending on the Tarfaya oil shale licence "has been restricted, pending a recovery in the oil price".

The information about San Leon and ONHYM now seeking a new longer licence for the Tarfaya licence in the occupied territory, sheds light on the disappearance of the Tarfaya block from a recent ONHYM map, dated 24 June 2016, where the block had been removed.

San Leon Energy drilled the Laayoune-4 well during late 2015. The company announced it were on the traces of gas, but that it did not encounter what it was looking for. Thousands of Saharawis protested the drilling operation.

The San Leon drilling operation in 2015 was the first ever to have been done since Morocco brutally annexed the territory in 1975. The drilling itself was done by Entrepose, a subsidiary of the French Vinci Group.

The largest sovereign wealth fund in the world divested from San Leon earlier in 2016 for "violating fundamental ethical norms" through its operations in the territory.

Other recent oil updates:

  • WSRW on 18 August wrote about the weak financial situation of San Leon's partner on the Zag licence, PetroMaroc. PetroMaroc issued twice over the last 8 days statements on  its financial situation, underlining there is no news on that front. The last statement on 14 September.

  • 24 August, Polish media reported that the subsidiary of the Polish oil company PGNiG had suddenly evacuated its staff from the occupied territory, citing political reasons. 5 September, Polish newspaper TP wrote that company denies pressure from the government of neighbouring Algeria.



    03.12 - 2020 / 26.11 - 2020New report: The EU ignores its own court on conflict trade
    26.11 - 2020 / 26.11 - 2020Life sentences confirmed for political prisoners
    19.11 - 2020 / 19.11 - 2020Saharawi gov calls for halt of all activity in Western Sahara over war
    18.11 - 2020 / 18.11 - 2020WSRW calls for suspension EU-Morocco fish deal
    17.11 - 2020 / 03.11 - 2020EU Commission says Western Sahara not part of aviation agreement
    16.11 - 2020 / 16.11 - 2020Protesters in New Zealand block entry to controversial factories  
    13.11 - 2020 / 13.11 - 2020Morocco intervenes militarily to re-open its plunder corridor
    13.11 - 2020 / 13.11 - 2020MEPs: EU should warn Enel and Siemens
    06.11 - 2020 / 30.10 - 2020Swedish renewable company Azelio silent about Western Sahara
    05.11 - 2020 / 05.11 - 2020DNV GL exits project in Western Sahara, will not return
    02.11 - 2020 / 27.10 - 2020Siemens Gamesa with new large deal for occupied Western Sahara
    31.10 - 2020 / 31.10 - 2020EU-Mauritanian fleet circumvents Saharawi roadblock
    12.10 - 2020 / 12.10 - 2020Russian fisheries still absent from Western Sahara
    07.10 - 2020 / 07.10 - 2020West African controversial fish imports resume
    05.10 - 2020 / 02.10 - 2020No more Swedish supplies to the Bou Craa mine
    08.09 - 2020 / 16.06 - 2020Soon 10 years of wrongful imprisonment: release Gdeim Izik group now
    08.09 - 2020 / 07.09 - 2020DHL: ignoring Saharawi rights for 5 parcels a day
    24.08 - 2020 / 24.08 - 2020Concrete plans for third solar plant in occupied Western Sahara
    10.08 - 2020 / 18.07 - 2020Voltalia to construct wind farm in occupied Western Sahara
    28.07 - 2020 / 22.07 - 2020Will Deutsche Post's AGM provide clarity on Western Sahara operations?


    Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
    EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies


    It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
    Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


    Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.

    WSRW.org News Archive 2020
    WSRW.org News Archive 2019
    WSRW.org News Archive 2018
    WSRW.org News Archive 2017
    WSRW.org News Archive 2016
    WSRW.org News Archive 2015
    WSRW.org News Archive 2014
    WSRW.org News Archive 2013
    WSRW.org News Archive 2012
    WSRW.org News Archive 2011
    WSRW.org News Archive 2010
    WSRW.org News Archive 2009
    WSRW.org News Archive 2008
    WSRW.org News Archive 2007
    WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006

    Register for our English newsletter:

    These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy